Interview: Charlie Slater (The Cloth Works) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Practice makes perfect, but sometimes those striving for perfection need somewhere to practice. Well luckily for them The Cloth Works Business Centre in Heaton, Newcastle has new owners and they have various size rehearsal spaces available. We speak to one of the owners, Charlie Slater about taking on the building, what they can offer musicians and what’s in the pipeline for the near future.

How did The Cloth Works start? What made you want to take over the old factory building and turn it into a rehearsal space?
The Cloth Works was originally a traditional brick built single storey factory building built in the early 1900s.  This was converted by our predecessors into its current format of lots of different sized rooms ideal for band practice, studios and workshops.  He was involved in the licence trade in Newcastle and so had a knowledge of the local music scene. He saw an opportunity to set up some spaces specifically for bands and music artists to store their gear and get together to rehearse without clogging up the spare room and cheesing off the neighbours!  We took over the building in March this year to allow him a quiet retirement.

What is your background?
We have spent the last 20 years in the construction, conversion, renovation and management of buildings.  We have done barn conversions, new build houses, converted an old school, renovated derelict properties and managed residential and commercial buildings.  The Cloth Works seemed like a really good fit especially as there was some work to do when we took it over. We have already completely replaced the roof, which will make the place warmer in winter and cooler in summer as well as being nice and dry inside, which is always a challenge with older premises.  

How would someone go about getting a room there?
All you would need to do is drop us a line or give us a call to pop down and take a look at what’s currently available. The easiest place to look is www.clothworksbusinesscentre.com   We have a range of spaces from small store rooms, or somewhere for a solo artist to write and practice in peace, to large airy rooms with plenty of space for bands to set up their gear and have some sofas and a fridge in a break out space.

What types of bands/musicians rehearse there?
There are so many different bands and artists using the building.  For some people it’s just a hobby and they want somewhere away from home to do their thing, for others music is their business and some even use their space at The Cloth Works for teaching.  To give you an idea, here are a few of the people who have space with us:
The Proper Boys – The North’s Favourite Heritage Rock Band!
Rach Lumb Vocal Tuition
Elephant Memoirs –  3 piece alternative pop rock band
Beth Macari –  Soul/ Pop artist

What are your plans for the future?
We are pushing on with the planned improvements at the place.  We have just started the construction of some new rooms which are getting acoustic sound proofing integrated into the walls, ceilings and floors.  There will be much less, if any, noise spill between the rooms and also hopefully this means that the new spaces will be available for music 24/7 – ideal for teaching or anyone who wants to practice during the day.  Next on the list is replacing the old windows, which will help keep the building warm, while making sure we keep its quirky character. We are also trying to nurture the creative atmosphere in the place, setting up a members Facebook group and encouraging collaboration in our little community.  We have so many skilled and talented people here; it’s great to be able to help each other out. You never know where the next gig could come from!
The most immediate change is going to be our website, which is getting a much needed revamp.  We are hoping to have that live by the beginning of September, so please go and take a look : www.clothworksbusinescentre.com

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